Saturday, 2 July 2016

Heretical thoughts on Schooling

There are posts celebrating schooling in villages. My heart aches. Schooling every potter and weaver and farmers away from their vast traditions is a defeat and no victory. It is the indicator of the destruction of diverse learnings and strengths and existances. And the establishment of the monopoly of the Schooled.
When a farmer, an adivasi deeply learned in the lore of the forests, desires his children to learn reading, writing and go to colleges and start anew in the other world, losing every vast inherited wisdom and starting anew as a first generation learner - then I see the utter defeat of my dreams, and the end of my imaginings.

 Every middle class person cheers when the poor children get Schooling. They wish them well. They know their progeny are safe here in the Schooling paradigm with inherited advantages.
Would they cheer as much if the farmers were paid a good hike, and food prices were to shoot up. Or is weavers were assured, and cloth prices were to treble. These are maybe the more essential interventions.

(A thread on the desirability of 'good local schools, incorporating local knowlege')
Aparna Krishnan I understand all that. Yes, it if far far better that than the excuses for schools that there are. But the fact is that schooling as a structure is deeply and unremediably flawed. We would do well to face that. Many many skills can neither be taught nor validated in a school. A 'double period' of pottery cannot make a potter - chooseing the clay, harnessing the bullocks, seaching the right sand, fashioning the wheel - these belong to a different framework of learning. To even think of working towards a sane and fair society we are forced to see foundational flaws. And envision a different society, which will have very different learning frameworks. Modern schooling - the good, the bad and the ugly - is all one. Destructive.
Aparna Krishnan To school the world is to establish ourselves as the leaders as finally it validates our reading writing skills over all others. We have deep stakes in the continuing of the schooling myth, as we do in many other myths.
Aparna Krishnan Outlawing schools would level the field in ways no revolution can. Schools and English.


Aparna Krishnan I would think that the potter's son makes pots with the father, and the thatcher's son thatches. These are skills learnt by working thro' growing years. Required literacy skills can be supplied in the evenings. And before someone jumps in to tell me that I am 'depriving the poor of schooling' I extend an invitation to all to come to my village and see where the poor are left postschooling. In a nether world. Unfit to farm, and unfit for the dream white collar jobs. Simply making a beeline to the arrack shop.
Like · Reply · 1 · August 12, 2015 at 4:19pm

Aparna Krishnan But parallely we need to structure a world where every sustainable skill has respect and remuneration equal to that of 'computer skills'. Faling which, lets lump it. And watch communities get negated and destroyed.
Like · Reply · August 12, 2015 at 4:20pm
Aparna Krishnan Anyway we are unable to rebuild the world of our dreams. And so we play along as well.

And there is the the retarding effect of school which is more visible with every passing generation (at the least the personalities are disjointed, with some scholastic ability but little perspective or empathy, just like the subjects they learn which are as artificially disjointed).

But more worrying is the hegemonising effect of schools where wise and learned village communities become 'iiliterate', second division holders, and suddenly and cruelly inferior to the literate community. The complete negation that schooling does to the potter and the thatcher and the vaidya in our village is a crime vaster than any.
But unable to beat this system, we also school our children, and goad them to do 'well in board exams'.


A school can attack the very foundations of a community's sense of self worth and self identity. A 'superior way' is imposed from above and that can be fatal.
Every schooled youngster in my village is convinced that local systems of healing are 'superstitious', they take their wives only for an allopathic delivery and do not trust the local dai, they certianly do not want to do agriculture or pottery and prefer shopfloor jobs to these even when they are lower paying.
I agree this is the malighned mainstream schooling at work, and some alternative schools would be more sensitive. But I suspect more and more it is part of the framework of the school itself - otherwise why would one set up schools in the world of other communities. The potter does not come and set up pottery schools in our spaces ro raise us out of our abyss. These are deep seated games of power and dominence.

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